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Everything posted by ian

  1. I'll just do a little update, as I will be going on holiday on Friday, and I'm not sure that I will get another chance to update before I go away. I'm pretty certain that I won't finish my current book "trust your eyes" by Linwood Barclay by then. I'm about halfway through it, and I'm struggling. Characters are good, storyline is good, but this middle section is just soooooo slow.
  2. I've seen it a million times before, but I decided to take my sons education in hand (he's 12) and show him the awesomeness that is.....the original Predator! Get to the choppa!
  3. Hard News by Jeffery Deaver Rune seems to have finally made the first real step towards her dreams - she has secured a job working for a major network news department. From there, her career as a budding documentary maker can really take off. However, nothing in Rune's life is ever that simple. She quickly becomes fascinated by the brutal murder of the network boss, and just as swiftly comes to the conclusion that the guy in the frame for the crime must be innocent. This, despite the mountain of evidence against him. But, trying to prove his innocence starts to become hazardous to her own health when a hitman comes to town with her name on a contract... Fulls of twists and turns, and with a incredibly engaging central character, this is classic Deaver... My Thoughts Classic Deaver? Hmm, not so sure about that. This is one of his earlier books, written, I think, in 1991 and is the final book (for now?) in a trilogy of books about Rune. So, if you have read any Deaver, you know what to expect - twists within twists! This is no exception. However, whereas in the other two books (and you probably do need to have read the others first) I found Rune's naivety at the outside world endearing, it was just pushing the boundary of annoying. Still, the plot is good, and those trademark twists are there. And, you have to say, Deaver has the ability to describe New York so that you feel you are there. The ending feels very abrupt, almost like he just decided he couldn't be bothered to write more. As such, it feels unfinished, like there should be a follow up book. Well, there isn't one yet. 4/5
  4. If I had seen the pic of that last one in Norway on its own, I would have sworn that it was photoshopped! It looks impossible!
  5. I try to write a review of a book as soon as I've finished, or as soon as I am online afterwards anyway. I either type out the synopsis from the back or cut and paste from an online shop, then add my own thoughts. I wish I could be organised enough to make notes as I'm going, but I mostly end up typing it down as it comes to me, which is probably why most of my reviews come across as a bit stream-of-conciousness ish! I do think that now that I review books I am paying more attention to my feelings about the book as I'm reading it, if that makes sense. That's not to say I was just reading books mechanically, but I think I'm actually getting more enjoyment out of reading, simply because I'm also reviewing them. I remember that I was on this site for ages before I posted my first review. I was petrified!
  6. The kids wanted to see "Earth to Echo" last weekend. My review? "Meh" just about sums it up!
  7. Sorry - just realised I haven't reviewed my last book! The Overlook by Michael Connelly. When a physicist is murdered in LA it seems the killer has no fear of publicity, leaving the body on The Mulholland overlook, a site with a stunning view over the city. And when it's discovered that the victim turned over a quantity of a lethal chemical to his killer before he died, Harry knows he has more than just a single death to worry about. Alongside the forces of Homeland Security, Harry realises he must solve the murder or face unimaginable consequences My Thoughts. I've read lots of Michael Connelly books, so you pretty much know what you are going to get. This is in the Harry Bosch series. If you've not read any, it's not too important if you read them in order - any points that come up are fairly well explained. This is a good murder story. The plot whips along at a cracking pace, without seeming to lose anything in detail. I was halfway through this before I realised. On the negative side, this does seem to be a very short book, so I was left feeling that I wanted a bit more. Because of that, I do feel I need to drop a point on my score - 4/5
  8. And just to annoy myself a bit more, took a book which has sat on my TBR pile for over a year, only to find I'd already read it! Oh well, I've now started on "Hard News" by Jeffery Deaver. Now this is part of a series, but at least I've read all the others!
  9. I always use a bookmark - and I have a tendency to buy a bookmark if I visist anywhere, so I have lots! Magnetic ones are very good, as they don't fall out so easily.
  10. A Question of Identity - Susan Hill How do you catch a killer who doesn't seem to exist? One snowy night in the cathedral city of Lafferton, an old woman is dragged from her bed and strangled with a length of flex. DCS Simon Serrailler and his team search desperately for clues to her murderer. All they know is that the killer will strike again, and will once more leave the same tell-tale signature. Then they track down a name: Alan Keyes. But Alan Keyes has no birth certificate, no address, no job, no family, no passport, no dental records. Nothing. Their killer does not exist. My Thoughts Ok, my fault. I picked this up from the communal coffee room at work having not read anything by Susan Hill before. I also didn't realise that this was book 7 of a series. I struggled with this book. Partly that's because I needed to have read the previous books. The characters are dumped, fully formed into your lap with not much in the way of explanation as to what's happened before. As a result, I found that a lot of the femaile characters tended to merge into each other, so I had to keep going back over what I'd read to distinguish them again. Still, that's down to me not reading the other books first. However, this was a crime book right? Well, it seems to take an awful long time to get going. It takes nearly a quarter of the book before murder actually takes place, and even then the investigation seems more of a sub-plot to the happenings of the lead investigator's family. It also becomes very obvious who the murderer is, due to there being not many characters to choose from! I was left with the impression that Susan Hill wants to write about the female Serrailler family members, rather than Simon: the writing comes much more to life when I was reading those parts of the book. I will read more Susan Hill - but not necessarily any more of this series. 3/5
  11. This sounds absolutely brilliant - exactly my kind of thing. Great review!
  12. Nemesis by Jo Nesbo How do you catch a killer when you're the number one suspect? A man is caught on CCTV, shooting dead a cashier at a bank. Detective Harry Hole begins his investigation, but after dinner with an old flame wakes up with no memory of the past 12 hours. Then the girl is found dead in mysterious circumstances and he beings to receive threatening emails: is someone trying to frame him for her death? As Harry fights to clear his name, the bank robberies continue with unparalleled savagery... My thoughts This book had sat patiently on my TBR pile for so long now, that I have no memory of where I got hold of it. I've read a couple of other Jo Nesbo's - actually the book before & after this, which was a bit silly of me. I've enjoyed the other books, but, although I still enjoyed this one, I didn't feel as connected to the story. There were several passages in the first couple of chapters I had to read a few times before I could understand them. Also disapointing was the fact that I guessed the identities and motivation of both the murderer and the bank robber after about 3 chapters in. Having said all that, these books aren't just a straight crime read: like Ian Rankin's Rebus books, they are an opportunity for the writer to explore various themes - in this case revenge. In that respect, the book held my interest. So, I'm only going to deduct one point for failing to keep the end from me. 4/5
  13. I was having a great day......then I woke up!

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. frankie


      I hate it when that happens.

    3. pontalba
    4. ian


      The moral of the story? Stay in bed!


  14. It's funny you should say that. I must have read LOTR 4 or 5 times as a teenager, and, like you, never spotted anything remotely religious in it. Then aged 30 I became a Catholic, read it again, and realised that the whole book is a enormous allegory of the new testament. I should say that at that point I was still unaware that Tolkien was a Catholic.
  15. You are very welcome! I wish I had the same confidence in my reviews. As usual, when writing: the words on the page/screen fail to live up to the ones in my head.
  16. Welcome to the site, Jones!
  17. Used to read this, when I was going to work on the train. I had no idea it was Norwegian!
  18. Welcome to the site, Elizabeth!
  19. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari - as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named - is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand. My Thoughts I almost didn't want to read this. I've read both of Hosseini's previous books, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to read another book about Afghanistan during the 70's & 80's. Then I realised that I was been stupid, and a little insulting. In any case, I needn't have worried. The book follows the story of a family from a poor village in Afghanistan in the 1950's, and the decision of the father to give away his daughter so that he will have less mouths to feed and she will have the chance of a better life. The book then sees how that one decision affects the lifes, not only of that family, but of other families whose lives are intersected by theirs. Khaled Hosseini has this trick (if you have read either of his other books you will know what I mean); he can make you feel both incredibly sad and uplifted at the same time. The characters are complex and contradictory - human in other words - and so you can't help but get involved, even if some of their motives seem wrong. I'm glad I decided to read this after all. 5/5
  20. The Day of the Lie - William Brodrick They came for me in November nineteen fifty-one and took me to Mokotow prison. Cambridge, the present day. And out of the past, a cry for help: Father Anselm, the brilliant Benedictine, receives a visit from an old friend with a dangerous story to tell - the story of a woman betrayed by time, fate, and someone close to her . . . someone still unknown. As a young woman, Roza Mojeska was part of an underground resistance group in Communist Poland. But after her arrest, an agent of the secret police makes her a devil's bargain - and in the dark of a government prison, a terrible choice is made. Now, fifty years later, Anselm is called upon to investigate both Roza's story and a mystery dating back to the early 1980s, in the icy grip of the Cold War. And as he peels back years of history, decades of secrets, a half-century of lies, he exposes a truth that victim and torturer would keep hidden.. My Thoughts What interested me when I picked this up was the author's bio - William Brodrick was a monk, then left to become a lawyer, then started writing. Here, I thought, is a man with a unique viewpoint on life. The book tells the story of Roza, who grew up in Poland, first during the Nazi occupation, then during Communist rule to modern day. She was part of a group helping to print and distribute a newspaper promoting democracy, which saw her imprisoned twice. Now, she has the chance to confront her jailor. This isn't a fast-paced thriller, as you can imagine, but a detailed look at how people come to be collaborators, and how we, who didn't live through such times, shouldn't view those people in strict black and white terms. It's a very thoughtfully written book. There is actually a series of books centered around the main character (a lawyer who became a monk!) but I didn't feel I was missing anything by not having read the previous books. Good Stuff. 5/5
  21. That's exactly right, Athena!
  22. The Racketeer - John Grisham. Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of the USA only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett just became number five. His body was found in the small basement of a lakeside cabin he had built himself and frequently used on weekends. When he did not show up for a trial on Monday morning, his law clerks panicked, called the FBI, and in due course the agents found the crime scene. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies - Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. I did not know Judge Fawcett, but I know who killed him, and why. I am a lawyer, and I am in prison. It's a long story. My Thoughts. It was always going to be a struggle to find something suitable to read after my Game of Thrones marathon. Everything was going to seem very short and sparse in detail in comparison. Do I go for something similar? Something I've read before and loved? In the end I decided to go for a Grisham - I've read a couple of his before and liked them without being blown away. Pretty much the same here. My main problem with this book was that the blurb on the back, which was slightly different to the one I've given above (which I have cut and paste from a website) sort of spoilt the story by hinting at a major plot twist. So after that, all of the surprise was taken out of the story (I'm trying not to spoil it here myself). I also had slight issues with the main protaganist, who I found to be not very likeable - just the wrong side of smug. I've had this reaction to some other Grisham novels, so that's probably just me. Those problems aside, the book is well written and the narrative cracks along at a fair old pace. The ending possibly could have been tied up a couple of chapters earlier, but I'm being super-critical now. 3/5
  23. I watched The Amazing Spiderman (2012) on DVD last night. That's an hour an a half of my life I'm not going to get back!
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